Tag Archives: The Hawk

Focusing on the task at hand….

Lately the writing has been ultra tedious; while I’m grateful for managing a few sentences, I’ve been distracted too easily, and truthfully am feeling a little beside myself.  It’s like I’m seated next to me as the writer, watching as fingers flail away on the keyboard, my scattered thoughts landing on bits of fabric, scraps of paper, or my eyes drawn to the window, enjoying the rain.

Little Miss seen through an artsy filter her grandpa likes to use.

Okay, so it’s been wet out which is great and I’ve quilted cute coasters to go along with my eldest’s Southwestern placemats and to do lists are being attended, but what about my book?  Oh yeah, I’m writing a novel, or trying to.  The last two years have allegedly been the years I was going to complete The Hawk, but due to life, those plans have been fantastically scuppered.  I won’t say spectacular fail, because I know there is a time for all things.  But time is also a precious commodity and I don’t wish to waste it.  I don’t want to keep saying, “This will be the year!”

Miss Em captured by that same abuelo.

While tackling some early morning mending, I considered just how vital is wrapping up this novel; for me personally it would be an enormous relief, ahem, but in the grand scheme, what does it matter?  I try not to take myself too seriously, yet perhaps that’s been the problem, easier to say that a quilt requires my attention, or that family is paramount.  Don’t get me wrong, my family is key, but in all that faces our world, peace matters.  Love matters.  Healing matters.  These three elements are the basic themes of The Hawk.  Maybe now more than ever completing this saga is essential.

The Burrito shares his breakfast with some friends. It is for all of these grandchildren that my stories need to be shared.

I have never consider this, but until now, I’ve not had a problem writing.  And that’s the truth; right now fashioning prose is abysmally difficult.  But right now is the most necessary moment to relay love, peace, and reconciliation.  Yes I have other responsibilities, however imparting these powerful notions cannot be ignored.  Pondering that as stitches went in and out of a quilt binding provided me with impetus, also an eager hope; I write for a greater good as well as for myself.

And of course there’s Buttercup, who I am certain would say she’s the most important one of all….

We’ll see in a couple of hours if this realization makes any difference in the word count.  But right now a light shines in the recesses of a dark tunnel.  One reason I write is to make my corner of the world a little brighter.  May a rekindling of that flame spark the creative flow into a viable groove.

A Necessary Sense of Direction

I’ve been adding words to the manuscript, actually completing an entire chapter on Monday.  But I have to admit that last week I didn’t get much writing accomplished, in part that as I sat to work, I was stymied by where I was within the story; 1965 was dawning, and in looking over that year upon Wikipedia, major world events needed contemplation. Bloody Sunday on March 7th began a month-long chain of events that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  But it wasn’t only Civil Rights issues; the conflict in Vietnam became a part of the American consciousness, as the draft was nearly doubled, protests accompanying.  There was much for me to ponder before I could get back into my novel, and only now am I feeling able to proceed.

The Hawk isn’t strictly historical fiction, but to ignore that element would have been wrong.  I won’t dwell on those topics overtly, but now that I’ve allowed for them, I can attempt to get back on the writing track.  I’m easily distracted, what with spring’s beauty, the garden demanding my attention as well as family.  I spent yesterday with Little Miss, Miss Em, and their mum, Buttercup too.  In a few weeks I’ll be up with The Burrito and his folks, so I’m hoping to squeeze in as many scenes as time allows.  Plus there’s the sewing and….

A tense moment in a Llama Llama book as I read to my granddaughters yesterday.

I’m plotting out a rather large project, a king-sized quilt that up until a few nights back was giving me trouble.  Then I inadvertently solved the question of what pattern to use, simply by playing around with pre-cut 4.5″ squares.  I’m going to make this quilt using 16.5″ blocks, mixing it up with whole pieces cut to that size and myriad manners of patchwork.  I might even get crazy enough to cut a passel of 2.5″ squares, we’ll see how creative I’m feeling.  Ocean blues and greens are the colour scheme, probably with some pops of yellow and orange, maybe pinks too.  As soon as I finish half a dozen placemats, I’ll start to consider a quilt fit for an ocean.

I’ll add another row of squares to this, and call it the first block for the king-size quilt.

I’m grateful for markers along the prose and fabric pathways; I work best when provided a map of sorts.  Maybe it’s age, or so many irons in the fire.  I pondered that this morning, trying to get into the rhythm of writing, but right now family comes first.  As long as I can muster paragraphs into scenes and scraps into blocks, I’m on the right path, history as a reminder it’s all a matter of perspective.

Tucking Away the Words

A great feeling is returning to the written work, seven hundred words on Monday, a chapter’s completion today.  I had left myself with quite a conundrum, as Klaudia has learned about Eric’s affliction, and I don’t merely mean his crippled arm.  How in the world I was going to address her reaction had been set aside until this week, but I think I managed a fitting segue into what happens next, and now to just keep adding to the story, one half or third or quarter chapter at a time.

Playing Carcassonne yesterday with Little Miss; she likes placing the men on every tile, regardless if the tile is hers.

It’s like a rose; layers of petals unfold to the center that holds the sweetest scent.  It’s like how Roxy Music ended their 2001 concerts with “For Your Pleasure”, each performer taking a bow, leaving only the pianist as the arrangement became more sparse, although that seems a backwards manner in which to describe a novel’s conclusion, but this book is so long that only a few loose threads remain.  What Klaudia has learned seems unbelievable, but Lynne proffered a way to absorb that truth in a manner that only mothers could share.  Of course, Klaudia doesn’t simply accept Lynne’s reasoning, not only for the sake of continuity.  There are still other issues I need to wrap up; Klaudia and Marek are a part of Eric’s story, but now that I’ve tackled one twist, the rest are just a matter of time.

Tummy time for Miss Em, two months old and enjoying her freedom.

Time to write is the key, but this abuela will squeeze in prose however it falls.  Miss Em’s baptism was a splendid affair, and her big sister is talking up a storm.  I’m hoping to spend some days with The Burrito in March, then we’ll be away for Easter, and the rest of April is abuzz with guests and trips away.  But I’m feeling very centered regardless of interruptions; reading over old novels affirms my love for spinning a yarn, as well as reminding me how far I have come in that endeavor.  Another idea sits on the horizon, again spurring me to complete The Hawk so I can dive head-first into another realm.  When I began writing, I was grateful my kids were nearly done with high school, time an abundant element.  The nietos won’t be tiny forever, and I relish being a part of their lives.  All these pieces of my existence are getting along, it’s just a matter of embracing how they coalesce for the greater good.

These days are beyond precious, enough time for all blessings.

This is what I need to remember when scenes are balky or I’m weary, or a baby won’t nap; there is a time for all things.  Tucked away in my back pocket are words, also keys to other doors.  If one doesn’t fit, try another.  Eventually the correct path appears, taken one step at a time.

Enjoying the fruits of my labours….

A cold has kept me from accomplishing much more than the basics, but sometimes it takes a small malady to force me into quiet time.  I’ve worked several Sudoku puzzles over the weekend, a pastime from my Yorkshire days. Mended a pair of jeans, sewed a couple of vibrant squares my grandson left on the quilt wall, watched a little basketball.  It’s been a busy time, what with The Burrito having turned three, Miss Em’s impending baptism on Sunday, plus my hubby and I will celebrate thirty years of wedded bliss this week.  I’m grateful to be feeling better, but lethargy lingers.

Two colourful blocks recently fashioned, their future currently undecided.

Weary of doing puzzles, yesterday afternoon I started reading one of my older books.  I’m not sure what led me to this particular novel, but I downloaded it onto my phone, laid on the sofa, setting a quilt over my lap, and suddenly I was transported over forty years in the past to Arkendale, Oregon.  Simultaneously I was dwelling in my more recent history, about nine years ago when I wrote Alvin’s Farm, yet residing along two different planes of existence wasn’t a bother, maybe due to my cold, or merely what happens when an author peeks back into their literary timeline.  To my delight, I couldn’t put down my phone; while the prose was at times rough, the story remained compelling, even though I know how it ends.

Miss Em catching a snooze….

Even more, I recall how this initial novel was concluded; like The Hawk, Alvin’s Farm had originally been meant as a short story.  HA!  As I wrote, the tale unfolded in manners not anticipated, but in following the muse, I didn’t become frustrated, permitting characters to unwind at their pace, or show up unexpectedly.  (Probably why writing The Hawk continues, as I managed to find The End on a previously enlongated tale….)  But what struck me most was how simple were my intentions; I wrote for the sheer joy of it.  Publishing was a dream, but releasing my books wasn’t even considered, which proves how quickly independent publishing became part of the authorial landscape.

Little Miss and The Burrito hard at work.

But eschewing indie and traditional publishing, what matters most to this writer is the need to share a story.  Nine years ago, I was enraptured with crafting prose, creating characters, bringing to life plots and schemes that seemed to leap from my brain onto the keyboard with an ease that led me to believe it would always be so uncomplicated.  Time to write has become the issue, I certainly have yarns to spin.  But maybe as I approach the last section of The Hawk, I need to remind myself why I do this.

I write because I love to tell stories and want to learn more about the world I inhabit.

That’s truly what it’s about, and what a pleasure and gift to be able to write at all!  I need to remind myself of this mantra, as I’ve put pressure on myself for the last couple of years to finish up The Hawk; girl, it will be done when it’s good and ready, and once it is finished, you will never write it again.  Well, not the first draft anyway, hehehe….

I recall when I completed Alvin’s Farm, stepping from the writing grotto out to where my husband was mowing our front yard.  It was the end of April in 2009, the scent of freshly cut grass heady, matching how I felt at that moment.  So much lay ahead, but all I knew was a tremendous sense of accomplishment, and even completion.  I haven’t felt that lately when finishing up a section of The Hawk, but I should.  I need to embrace all aspects of writing, not fearing what has yet to be set onto my virtual document.  Trust is key here, not merely in my abilities, but in where this tale is meant to go.  And getting back to my mantra is essential: I write because I love to tell stories and want to learn more about the world I inhabit.

Buttercup is pretty happy plopped on a sofa, bless her….

There is a deep personal reward in writing, a great responsibility to readers, but also to oneself in allowing breaks in the work, maybe longer than desired, but life isn’t lived merely with my butt in the chair.  What I bring to The Hawk after an extended absence will enhance it, I can’t be afraid of that.  And in years to come, I’ll sit on my sofa, snuggle under a quilt, and read a part of my fictional history that occurred before I was born, yet imperative to who I am becoming.  I’m certainly not the same as when I began it in 2013, just as my skills aren’t where they were in the spring of 2009.  I need to embrace all these elements, then move forward.  No fear, just trust, and enjoy.  Always remember to enjoy the ride….

Novels and Whole Cloth Quilting

Taken on the sunny day….

Over the weekend I finished reading through The Hawk Part Twelve.  For the first time since releasing this saga in installments, I found no typos which required me to upload a new version onto Smashwords.  Now, that’s not to say there are no typos, hehehe, only none that were so glaring as to catch my attention.  That’s also not implying I didn’t make changes within that section of the manuscript.  I *always* find something to tweak, but unless it’s an obvious grammatical error, I leave these beta releases alone.  Otherwise I’d be forever updating various sections with each round of overall edits that occur.

Snapped this morning; I love how the circles show on the fleece.

As I read through Part Twelve, I was struck at how this behemoth has evolved, each part like its own story.  The Hawk is one cohesive tale, but every section has its priorities.  Today I pulled out Part Thirteen, amazed that so much was already written, over 28K!  I never meant for this book to be so involved, or maybe convoluted is a better term to describe it, ha ha, um, yeah.  For better or worse, The Hawk is what it has become, and is still turning into, and I’m eager to return to fashioning prose.  I’ll deal with The End once I get there.

Cloudy day shot, I believe. Again, the galaxies show up on the back as well as the front.

Along the way, I have completed the sleeping bag insert for my grandson, although getting proper photos of it has been nearly as complicated as writing The Hawk; one day there wasn’t enough sun, another day too many shadows intruded.  This morning I snapped a few more shots, which seem to be acceptable.  In the interim I’ve discovered the notion of whole cloth quilting, then found I’d dabbled with it right in making this project!

This print was just too adorable to slice, definitely lending itself to whole cloth quilting.  I’m also very pleased with the espresso binding….

That realization is sort of how I feel about my fiction WIP; meandering along, I’ve spent the last three-plus years honing my authorial skills, gaining lessons in patience as well as sharpening my abuela senses.  Just days ago I was pottering about various quilt-making websites, coming across whole cloth quilting, then BAM there it is, draped right over my sofa, dude!  The purpose to whole cloth quilt this insert was in part due to not wanting to cut up this awesome print, but also to quickly produce this piece in time for a three-year-old’s birthday.  Now I have plentiful notions to consider about what I’d like to next quilt in this style, maybe a similar insert for Little Miss.  We were speaking about her cousin’s upcoming birthday, and when I mentioned what I’d made him, she said, “What about mine?”  I smiled, noting it wasn’t her birthday yet.

I can’t wait to see what The Burrito thinks of his new blanket!

Toddlers don’t miss a trick while this grandma is trying to stay ahead of the game, and when it comes to whole cloth quilting, perhaps I am a little more in the know than I realized.  As for The Hawk….  It’s been months since I worked on it, so the next few weeks will be spent reacquainting myself with current plot lines.  But the end is so clear in my mind, it’s as if I’m already there.  Then one day I’ll be done with it, revising for typos’ sakes, as if whole cloth quilting, removing erroneous commas akin to continuous stitching over seamless fabric, or something like that.  Writing and sewing might seem unrelated, but to me they go hand in hand, or I use my hands for both tasks, or….  The Hawk is like whole cloth quilting, even if it’s broken into sections; it’s one long story brokered by many stitches along the way.

Thinking in colour (and in black and white)….

Last night’s accessories….

Quilts aren’t my only items sewn by hand; I do a fair amount of mending, mostly on jeans.  I’ve been wearing 501’s for over thirty years, and they have to be either in tatters or not longer fitting for me to throw them away.  I have several old pairs that have fallen under my needle, and last night it was time to affect some repairs.

One small purple patch amid layers of previously mended sections….

Recently I’ve used navy thread just to liven up these ancient trousers, but as I cut patches yesterday I considered all the new thread acquired over Christmas; how neat might it look to employ some of those shades?  I chose three colours, then began to pin; I use a lot of pins when mending jeans, making sure patches stay right where I put them.

Pinned within an inch of its life….

Hand-sewing quilts came easily after all the wear and tear I’ve tackled on denim over my lifetime, ha ha ha….

Snapped this collection again once my hubby turned on the light….

So excited to incorporate these new threads, I went back of this pair of jeans, finding new places in need of some patching love.  As I sewed, I kept glancing to the coffee table, admiring vibrant spools; something about colour touches me deeply, not sure why.  But equally my thoughts have been drifting to hues described in prose; I’m over a third into The Hawk Part Twelve, managing nearly three chapters of revisions most days.  Reading it on my phone is the easiest way to get a feel for just how “finished” it is; books on devices always appear polished, although not very colourful.

A plethora of bright patches!

Sometimes my life is kind of black and white, although myriad levels of gray are always prevalent.  Writing remains dormant, but novelistic notions flirt in the background, as if waiting for spring.  Daffodils are already up in our garden, and I’m hoping to return to Part Thirteen perhaps as soon as March.  I’m not in any hurry, in part that for the last two years I’ve thought the end was in sight, hah!  But when that occurs, my goodness.  It will feel….  I can’t even imagine that sensation, or what colour would describe it.  Maybe a rainbow will do justice to such an event.  Stay posted; eventually I’m going to complete The Hawk, just a matter of time.

I did finish the patching, very subtle in appearance, but I’m quite pleased.

The Hawk, Part Twelve

While my clan awaits a new arrival, I’ve released another section of The HawkPart Twelve is available on Smashwords in a variety of formats, and I’m very pleased to have published one more piece of this large literary puzzle.  If you are searching for plenty to read over the upcoming holiday, The Hawk certainly fits the bill.  Check out the latest installment on Smashwords!